A.R.Rahman 1

The demand in India is to have a hit, which becomes a promotion for the movie and makes people come to the theater. You have five songs and different promotions based on those. But when I do Western films, the need for originality is greater. Then I become very conscious about the writing.
A. R. Rahman

I joined the Madras Christian College but dropped out after three months. Telugu music director Ramesh Naidu asked me to assist him, and I did so for over a year. I did think of rejoining college, but by then, I was discovering the musician in me. I worked with Illaya Raja and Raj Koti and soon shifted to commercials. This led to movie offers.
A. R. Rahman

My mother’s belief in spiritual healers grew stronger after our family went through a rough patch following my father’s death. Sufi saint Karimullah Shah Kadri changed our lives, and all of us converted to Sufism. But it wasn’t an instantaneous decision – it took us 10 years to convert. The change in religion was like washing away the past.
A. R. Rahman

For me, there is no day or night for music. I often work through the night – without phone calls disturbing me.
A. R. Rahman

A good film demands its own score, and if you are a musician, your conscience will never allow you to do something mediocre for a good film.
A. R. Rahman

I’m a Sufi Muslim, I would say. I believe in using the medium to create a good vibration because art is so important to society. Some projects I don’t do because I feel that it’s going to create a bad vibe. I don’t do propaganda films that are anti another religion, anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu.
A. R. Rahman

Some things are very low profile, but if they excite me creatively, I accept them. Sometimes there are high-profile projects, and you have to do it. We all have human limitations. It is a painful decision to turn things down. Even accepting ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was a decision that I had to sacrifice another project.
A. R. Rahman

I think I can get away, sometimes, with walking in the streets and not getting noticed. I like that. I want my work to get noticed, not me. And it’s slowly getting there, which is good.

After a point of time, when you get success and fame, money and everything, the purpose of life has to be redefined. For me, I think that purpose is to build bridges. Artists can do that very easily, more than politicians.
A. R. Rahman

I was a common man, and I will always remain a common man. No amount of stardom will ever consume my soul. Money comes, money goes. Fame comes, fame goes. I believe every human being is a celebrity in their own right.
A. R. Rahman

The more I compose, the more I know that I don’t know it all. I think it’s a good way to start. If you think you know it all, the work becomes a repetition of what you’ve already done. I try to make sure that I don’t repeat my music.
A. R. Rahman
Work, Music, Goo

While my mother wanted me to be a musician, I wanted to become an electronic engineer.
A. R. Rahman

If there is no criticism, you become lazy. But it should be constructive, and it should be the truth. If it’s biased and there’s no truth in it, then I don’t care about it. If it’s true, it helps me grow.
A. R. Rahman

Sometimes, a remix is good because it reaches a whole new generation. But when it gets too much, it’s irritating. Also, the original composer needs to be credited properly.
A. R. Rahman

The institution of marriage works better when there’s a spiritual connection. If you’re marrying just for the sake of the woman, then you may lose interest in each other very soon. When we marry in the interest of the Holy Spirit with the intention of serving God and humanity, then it gives a much larger perspective.
A. R. Rahman
Marriage, God, Spiritual
I am a friend when I need to be a friend, a father when I need to be a father, a musician when music calls. I switch roles accordingly.
A. R. Rahman

My music is mostly for the music. And it gives the liberty to do anything which I want. And nobody limits me to one genre of music. But I learn from life and I try to give back to life, in a way, whether it’s the thought of the song or whether it’s the approach to the arrangement or anything.
A. R. Rahman

The more dollars the studio producers put in, the less freedom we have. If the budget hits $100m, they get scared – they’ll take the existing score of a successful movie and expect composers to copy it, like wallpaper. The biggest challenge for any composer in Hollywood is to be as creative as possible within those boundaries.
A. R. Rahman

I want young Indian composers to be able to do more than just film music. I want to give them the skills that will enable them to create their own palette of sounds instead of having to write formulaic music. It doesn’t matter if they become sound engineers, producers, composers or performers – I want them to be as imaginative as they like.
A. R. Rahman

I am the kind of person who does not like to carry baggage. In fact, I don’t go back and listen to my own music. I believe in closing chapters and moving forward. That’s what gives me peace.
A. R. Rahman

I divide criticism into two categories – one coming from those who understand music, who are worthy of being critical because they are knowledgeable about what they are saying; and then there is another category of people who would criticise you anyway, whether your work is good or bad.
A. R. Rahman

I like to see a film and then start scoring it in my mind while doing something unrelated. You just grasp a film and start working, and something unpredictable comes out from a third element. The mind, the more active it is, the more productive it is.
A. R. Rahman

Music is the only passion I shamelessly indulge in. However, for recreation I enjoy watching movies. ‘Wizard of Oz’ was the first film I ever saw, followed by the ‘Bond’ movies. I also watch a lot of World cinema through DVDs mostly brought by one of my best friends who’s now based in Toronto.
A. R. Rahman

Beautiful film music can be made relevant to any period.
A. R. Rahman

A musician is a professional, whether he or she is successful or not. The profession itself must be regarded as a stable job.
A. R. Rahman

I was famous from the age of 13, and after a while you become immune to it – in a good way. You look at positives and what you can do with it.
A. R. Rahman

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